Michael Smith and James Wade in action on Monday night, with Robert Thornton also turning out at Ally Pally
We’ve had a few first round upsets at Alexandra Palace already, with Michael van Gerwen avoiding a massive shock, although Ian White, Kim Huybrechts and Andy Hamilton have already bowed out of the competition.
Tonight we have some more big guns hoping to avoid an early banana skin, with Robert Thornton handed a tough opener, while Michael Smith and James Wade are also in action.
Monday 21st December 2015
19:00: Warrick Scheffer v John Michael
We’ve got two qualifiers squaring off to kick off proceedings, with Michael having qualified for the first round last year before losing 3-1 to Ian White. Scheffer makes his debut after winning the South Africa Masters and could be out of his depth.
BETTING TIP: Michael to win 2-0 @ 6/4 with bet365
19:30: Robert Thornton v Alan Norris
The Thorn has had a pretty good year and that has included a World Grand Prix victory where the Scot beat Michael van Gerwen in a brilliant final. He also made the quarter finals of the Grand Slam of Darts and should ease through in this match.
Norris made the switch from the BDO a year ago and the Englishman is a dangerous opponent, having won a Players Championship event, while he also beat Terry Jenkins in the Players Championship finals. However, he might be outclassed against a sturdy opponent.
BETTING TIP: Thornton to win 3-1 @ 11/4 with BetVictor
20:30: Michael Smith v Jeffrey de Zwaan
Bully Boy’s quarter is up for grabs after Ian White’s first round exit, with Smith having reached the third round of this tournament for the past two years. His game continues to improve and he should make a big statement in this match.
De Zwaan is a nineteen-year-old qualifier who practices with Raymond van Barneveld. However, little can prepare him for the Ally Pally stage and we’re expecting Smith to wrap this up quickly.
BETTING TIP: Smith to win 3-0 @ 11/5 with Boylesports
22:00: James Wade v Scheffer/Michael
Wade should make short work of either opponent, with the Machine not someone generally vulnerable to an early first round exit. He has made the semi-finals twice in the past four years and also a quarter-final appearance.